Art and the Made Man: What Have You Done For Me Lately?

A struggling artist clamors for the eye of Pinault

A struggling artist clamors for the eye of Pinault

OK, call me amateur paparazzi, star-gazer, a girl tripping in her stillhettos, but I was rummaging around  looking for articles/glam shots on Venice’s Bienniale and stopped cold when I saw the above pic calling out Francois Pinault. The Francois Pinault Foundation has transformed Venice’s Punta della Dogana (customs building) into a contemporary art center, which opened in June 2009 for the Biennale. It contains (some of) Pinault’s permanent contemporary art collection.

I’ve done a few double-takes on this man in the past. On Forbes list of billionaires around the world, he’s 39th. He’s got Selma Hayek on his arm (they got married in Paris’s City Hall.  Classy.) He owns the Gucci Group (inc. Yves Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta), Christie’s auction house, and Château Latour (!!!).

So man with the money, what have you done for me lately? Ahh, that’s right. Selling off classic works (Jaspar Johns’, etc.) to make room for emerging artists. (I intuit “emerging” artists to mean “struggling” artists, but that’s just my take? It’s like emerging writers…)

Anyway, bravo Pinault. Next to your Jeff Koons, Sigmar Polke, Cindy Sherman, Richard Prince, Cy Twombly, Takashi Murakami or Jake & Dinos Chapman you place pieces by emerging talents such as Matthew Day Jackson, Adel Abdessemed, Wilhelm Sasnal, Richard Hughes, Nate Lowman, Mark Bradford and Kai Althoff. (I’ll write more about these emerging artists in my next several posts.)

So how can we get more enterprising men (AND WOMEN!) like Pinault in the mix? Doesn’t everyone want to be married to Selma Hayek?

And now, the more I think about it, there IS a difference between emerging artists and struggling artists. Emerging artists are those who have “made it” but are new on the scene. Struggling artists just haven’t made it to the scene yet. OK, that’s fodder for the next post.


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